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Full text of "HANDBOOK ON CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT"

The Child Support Enforcement program is a Federal/State/local 
effort to collect child support from parents who are legally obligated to 
pay. Its goals are threefold: to ensure that children are supported by 
their parents, to foster family responsibility, and to reduce the costs of 
welfare to the taxpayer. State enforcement programs locate absent par- 
ents, establish paternity, establish and enforce support orders, and col- 
lect child support payments. While programs vary from State to State, 
their services are available to all parents who need them. 

Established in 1975 as Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the Child 
Support Enforcement program functions in all States and territories. It 
is usually administered through State and county Social Services De- 
partments, though many States have agreements with prosecuting attor- 
neys, other law enforcement agencies, and officials of family or domes- 
tic relations courts to carry out the program at the local level. 

The role of the Office of Child Support Enforcement, in the U.S. De- 
partment of Health and Human Services, is to help States develop, 
manage, and operate their programs effectively and according to the 
rules of Federal law. The Office pays for a major portion of State pro- 
gram operating costs, provides policy guidance and technical assistance 
to enforcement agencies, conducts audits and educational programs, 
supports research, and promotes initiatives for program improvement. 





U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

Office of Child Support Enforcement 

Washington, D.C. 20447 



FOREWORD 

In this Handbook on Child Support Enforcement you will find a "how- 
to" guide for getting the child support payments which are owed to 
you and your children. We have written it to help close the gap be- 
tween the dollars owed the children of America and the dollars paid by 
the parents who should help support them. Although the booklet is 
written for people who are working through their local Child Support 
Enforcement (CSE) offices, it will also be useful to parents who are 
working with private attorneys. 

Concern for the well-being of children who live with only one of their 
parents and a desire to reduce the costs to taxpayers of the Aid to Fam- 
ilies with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, prompted Congress 
to pass the Child Support Enforcement Amendments of 1984 and the 
Family Support Act of 1988. Child support enforcement laws have 
been strengthened and there have been many improvements to the Fed- 
eral/State Child Support enforcement program. Major changes in the 
law which will be taking effect during the years between 1989 and 
1994, include: 

Immediate wage withholding by 1990 for new CSE cases unless both 
parents and/or the court agree to a different payment plan, and for 
all existing CSE cases at the request of either parent if the State 
agrees 

by 1994 for all orders in the State unless both parents and/or the 
court agree to a different plan 

Child support guidelines must be used after October 1989 unless it 
can be shown that to use them would be unjust or inappropriate in 
a particular case 

Genetic testing must be provided in disputed paternity cases at the 
request of either party after November 1989. 

States must be able to review and modify CSE case orders to 
comply with State guidelines at the request of either parent or the 
CSE office by October 1990 

States must start periodic review and modification (if appropriate) of 
CSE cases by October 1993 



We hope this booklet will help you to understand the laws and will 
assist you in obtaining your child support. 

We dedicate this Handbook to the millions of parents and children who 
need and deserve to receive fair and full child support payments. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 
I. INTRODUCTION 1 

How to apply for child support enforcement services . . . 
what they cost 

II. FINDING THE ABSENT PARENT: LOCATION 7 

The initial search . . . Federal and State Parent Locators 

III. ESTABLISHING FATHERHOOD: PATERNITY 10 

Benefits . . . necessary evidence . . . consent agreement 

IV. ESTABLISHING THE SUPPORT ORDER: OBLIGATION 13 
Deciding the amount . . . changing the amount 

V. ENFORCING THE SUPPORT ORDER: ENFORCEMENT 17 
Techniques that work 

VI. WORKING ACROSS STATE LINES: INTERSTATE CO- 
OPERATION 25 

How to collect payments in another State . . . tracking 
your case 

VII. CONCLUSION 30 

APPENDIX 31 



Glossary of Child Support Enforcement Terms 31 

State Child Support Enforcement Offices 35 

Regional Offices of the Office of Child Support Enforce- 
ment t <i>itit 39 

Child Support Enforcement Records 42 



I. INTRODUCTION 

Are you a single parent divorced, separated or never married with chil- 
dren to support? 

Do you need help obtaining a child support order? 

Do you need help collecting child support payments from the parent who is 
under a legal order to pay? 

Federal law requires States to use proven enforcement methods on 
behalf of families who apply for child support enforcement services. 
States may handle support cases differently, however, and questions you 
have about how the child support enforcement law will work for you 
should be answered by your local child support enforcement office. 

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) program is usually run by State 
and local human services departments. To learn more about the program 
or to apply for child support services, call your local CSE office. Check 
the county listings in your telephone directory to get the telephone 
number, or call or write to the State CSE agency listed at the back of 
this Handbook. 

For the most part, child support enforcement problems are handled 
through local family and domestic courts, according to State and local 
laws and practices. States use administrative procedures* or other expedit- 
ed legal procedures for establishing and enforcing support orders to 
avoid some of the long delays which are common in court proceedings. 

In this Handbook, you will find the facts you need about child support 
enforcement: the basic steps to follow and what enforcement methods 
get the best results. Whether you are working with your State or local 
CSE program or your own attorney, knowing these things can help you 
collect the child support that is due your children. The Handbook is or- 
ganized so that you can refer directly to the sections you need. 

Your State's CSE program is available to help you: 

Find the absent parent; Location 



* Words in italics are defined in the Glossary beginning on page 31. 

1 



Establish legal fatherhood for children; Paternity 

Establish the legal support order: Obligation 

Collect child support payments: Enforcement 

The CSE program does not handle other problems that people often 
have along with child support problems. Problems such as property set- 
tlement, visitation and custody are not, by themselves, support enforce- 
ment issues, and by law, the CSE program cannot extend its services to 
enforce court orders pertaining to them. They must be handled at the 
local level with the help of a private attorney. 

The person you will be working with at your enforcement office may be 
called a caseworker, investigator, enforcement worker, collection special- 
ist, or child support worker. The term "caseworker" will be used 
throughout this Handbook. Also, the words "court" or "judge" mean the 
official agency having the authority in your State to make legally bind- 
ing decisions. 

Remember: the more you know about child support enforcement, the 
more you take an active role in getting information to your caseworker 
and ask questions about how your case is being handled, the more suc- 
cess you will have in obtaining regular and full child support payments 
for your children. 

Who can get help? 

Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish 
child support or medical support obligation or to collect support pay- 
lents from the non-custodial parent can apply for child support enforce- 
lent services. People who receive assistance under the Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children (AFDC) or Medicaid programs or Federally-as- 
sisted Foster Care programs automatically receive child support enforce- 
ment services. 

Where do I apply for help in obtaining child support? 

Through your local child support enforcement (CSE) office. The number 
can be found in your local telephone directory usually under the State/ 
County social services agency. 



Is there an application fee? 

Those receiving assistance under the AFDC, Medicaid or Foster Care 
program do not have to pay for CSE services. For all others a fee of up 
to $25 is charged, although some States absorb all or part of the fee or 
collect payment from the non-custodial parent. 

Are there any other costs? 

Child support agencies can recover all or part of the actual costs of their 
services from those who are not AFDC recipients. These can include the 
cost of legal work done by agency attorneys and costs for locating an 
absent parent, Such costs may be deducted from the child support that is 
collected or may be collected from the non-custodial parent. Not all 
States recover the costs of their services. Your local CSE office can tell 
you more based on the practices of your State and the characteristics of 
your case. 

My State recovers costs from the custodial parent. How will I know how 
much will be deducted from my support checks? 

Your caseworker should be able to give you an estimate of the costs in- 
volved in your case, and tell you approximately how much they will 
deduct from each check before sending it on to you. 

Will there be an extra cost if the enforcement agency is dealing with the 
enforcement agency in another State? 

Depending on the States involved, there may be extra costs if more than 
one State is handling your case. Ask your caseworker to estimate these 
costs, if any. 

Will the enforcement agency keep track of my child support payments to 
make sure they keep coming? I am not on AFDC. 

CSE offices are required to monitor payments to make sure they are 
made regularly and fully. But because offices vary in how closely they 
can monitor payments, it is also up to you to inform the agency if pay- 
ments are late or in the wrong amount, or if you receive payments di- 
rectly. When you monitor your own case, you can keep the CSE office 
informed so that they can act quickly if needed. 



247-717 - 89 - 2 QL 3 



Establish legal fatherhood for children: Paternity 

Establish the legal support order: Obligation 

Collect child support payments: Enforcement 

The CSE program does not handle other problems that people often 
have along with child support problems. Problems such as property set- 
tlement, visitation and custody are not, by themselves, support enforce- 
ment issues, and by law, the CSE program cannot extend its services to 
enforce court orders pertaining to them. They must be handled at the 
local level with the help of a private attorney. 

The person you will be working with at your enforcement office may be 
called a caseworker, investigator, enforcement worker, collection special- 
ist, or child support worker. The term "caseworker" will be used 
throughout this Handbook. Also, the words "court" or "judge" mean the 
official agency having the authority in your State to make legally bind- 
ing decisions. 

Remember: the more you know about child support enforcement, the 
more you take an active role in getting information to your caseworker 
and ask questions about how your case is being handled, the more suc- 
cess you will have in obtaining regular and full child support payments 
for your children. 

Who can get help? 

Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish 
a child support or medical support obligation or to collect support pay- 
ments from the non-custodial parent can apply for child support enforce- 
ment services. People who receive assistance under the Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children (AFDC) or Medicaid programs or Federally-as- 
sisted Foster Care programs automatically receive child support enforce- 
*nent services. 

rVhere do I apply for help in obtaining child support? 

Through your local child support enforcement (CSE) office. The number 
can be found in your local telephone directory usually under the State/ 
County social services agency. 



Is there an application fee? 

Those receiving assistance under the AFDC, Medicaid or Foster Care 
program do not have to pay for CSE services. For all others a fee of up 
to $25 is charged, although some States absorb all or part of the fee or 
collect payment from the non-custodial parent. 

Are there any other costs? 

Child support agencies can recover all or part of the actual costs of their 
services from those who are not AFDC recipients. These can include the 
cost of legal work done by agency attorneys and costs for locating an 
absent parent. Such costs may be deducted from the child support that is 
collected or may be collected from the non-custodial parent. Not all 
States recover the costs of their services. Your local CSE office can tell 
you more based on the practices of your State and the characteristics of 
your case. 

My State recovers costs from the custodial parent. How will I know how 
much will be deducted from my support checks? 

Your caseworker should be able to give you an estimate of the costs in- 
volved in your case, and tell you approximately how much they will 
deduct from each check before sending it on to you. 

Will there be an extra cost if the enforcement agency is dealing with the 
enforcement agency in another State? 

Depending on the States involved, there may be extra costs if more than 
one State is handling your case. Ask your caseworker to estimate these 
costs, if any. 

Will the enforcement agency keep track of my child support payments to 
make sure they keep coming? I am not on AFDC* 

CSE offices are required to monitor payments to make sure they are 
made regularly and fully. But because offices vary in how closely they 
can monitor payments, it is also up to you to inform the agency if pay- 
ments are late or in the wrong amount, or if you receive payments di- 
rectly. When you monitor your own case, you can keep the CSE office 
informed so that they can act quickly if needed, 



3 

247-717 - 89 - 2 QL 3 



I'm getting a divorce and my wife wants me to pay child support directly to 
her. Can I insist on paying through the CSE office? 

Call the CSE office and ask them. You may certainly pay your child 
support by wage withholding or payroll deduction. If you do so, you 
will have a clear payment record and you will not have to write a check 
for each payment. If you are self employed, you should be able to ar- 
range for an automatic transfer of funds. Your CSE office will be happy 
to answer your questions. 

The father of my child lives across the State. I cannot afford to take the 
time off from work or travel there to appear in court. How can I get en- 
forcement of my child support? 

Usually, a court order entered in a State is enforceable throughout the 
State. Most local CSE offices handle enforcement in different court juris- 
dictions in the same State without your having to travel outside your 
own jurisdiction. Ask your local CSE office for details about how en- 
forcement would work in your case. 

I am applying for assistance under AFDC. Do I have to seek child support 
from the children's father? 

As a condition of eligibility for AFDC, you must help the CSE office 
with their efforts to identify and collect child support from the father. If 
the State is able to collect child support on behalf of your children, you 
will receive up to the first $50 of current support collected each month 
without a decrease in your assistance payment. The rest of the child sup- 
port payment will go towards reimbursing the State and Federal govern- 
ments for AFDC payments made to your family. 

\ am applying for AFDC, but I am afraid that the father may try to harm 
ne or the children if I tell a caseworker who he is. What should I do? 

Under certain conditions the AFDC authorities may agree that you have 
good cause for refusing to identify and help locate the father. You will 
have an opportunity to explain the situation to your caseworker and pro- 
vide supporting information. 



My children and I need money now. Their father left us ten years ago. 
Will they still try to find him? 

By law, the CSE office must try to find the absent parent. Be sure you 
give them any information you have about where he might be. 

If they can't find him, does that mean I can't get A I 'DC? 

No. You will get AFDC if you are trying to help, and AFDC payments 
are made to you while the CSE office tries to obtain support. If the CSE 
office does collect child support from him, you will receive up to the 
first $50 of current support that he pays each month in addition to your 
AFDC payment. 

What does the child support enforcement agency need to know? 

No matter where you start establishing who the father is, finding the 
absent parent, establishing or enforcing a support order the CSE office 
must have all the pertinent facts in order to pursue your case successful- 
ly. Be assured that the information you give will be treated in confi- 
dence. 

What documents do I need to bring to the enforcement agency? 

Whatever you have of the following information and documents v 
help the CSE office to locate the absent parent, establish paternity, estab 
lish and/or enforce your child support case: 

name, address and social security number of the absent parent 

children's birth certificates 

your child support order 

your divorce decree or separation agreement 

name and address of current or recent employer of the absent 
parent 

names of friends and relatives, names of organizations to which the 
absent parent might belong 

information about the absent parent's income and assets payslips, 
tax returns; bank accounts, investments or property holdings 

information about your income and assets 

if paternity is an -issue, written statements (letters or notes) in which 
the alleged father has said or implied that the child is his 



I'm the non-custodial parent. I love my kids. I pay my child support. About 
half the time when I go to pick them up for ray weekend, my ex-wife has 
made other plans for them. It's not fair that the State will enforce my child 
support obligation but not do anything about my rights. 

Although child support and visitation are separate issues, many States 
have tried to work out some way of helping with visitation problems. 
Check with your CSE office to see what resources are available to you 
and to find out about laws which address custody and visitation. 



II. FINDING THE ABSENT PARENT: LOCATION 

To establish the paternity of a child, to obtain an order for support, and 
in most cases, to enforce that order, you must know where the absent 
parent lives or works. When a legal claim is made by one person against 
another, the defendant must be given adequate notice of the legal action 
taken and the steps necessary to protect his or her rights. To notify the 
absent parent in advance either by certified mail or in person child 
support enforcement officials must have a correct address. If you do not 
have the address, the CSE office can help you find it. 

I think the children's father is still in the area. What information will the 
enforcement office need to find him? 

Most important is his social security number and his current employer's 
name and address; also helpful are the names, addresses and phone num- 
bers of any relatives, friends, or past employers who might know where 
he works or lives. Leads might also come from the names of local clubs 
or organizations to which he belongs and it may help to know where he 
is likely to be spending his free time. Finally, information about local 
creditors, such as banks or utility companies might yield a home address. 

What if the absent parent cannot be found locally? 

Your CSE office will ask the State Parent Locator Service (SPLS) to con- 
tinue the search. Using the social security number, the SPLS will check 
the records of other State agencies such as motor vehicle registration, 
unemployment insurance, income tax, and correctional facilities, If the 
SPLS search finds that the parent has moved to another State, it can ask 
the other State to search, At the same time, it can send a request to the 
Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS). 

What resources does the FPLS have? 

With certain minimum information such as the absent parent's name and 
social security number, the FPLS can search for a current address in the 
records of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Defense, the 
National Personnel Records Center, the Social Security Administration, 
and the Veterans Administration. Any information found is sent back to 
the State or local enforcement agency. 



LOCATION 



What if I don't have the social security number? 

Places where you might find the social security number can be over- 
looked. Check hospital records if the absent parent was a patient, police 
records, bank accounts, old insurance policies, credit cards, payslips, or 
State and Federal income tax returns. If you and the father filed a joint 
Federal income tax return in the last 3 years, the CSE office, through 
the FPLS, can find the absent parent's social security number even with- 
out a copy of the tax return. Also, past employers or business associates 
may have the number. If you still cannot find the social security number, 
your caseworker can try to find it by using the FPLS. To do this, the 
caseworker will need the parent's place and date of birth, and the names 
of the parent's mother and father. 

Can I or my lawyer directly ask the FPLS to find an address for the other 
parent? 

No. You or your private attorney can submit a request to use the FPLS 
only through the State child support enforcement agency. 

Can State and Federal location efforts be made at the same time? 

es. For instance, a search can be initiated by the State to another State 
id to the FPLS at the same time. 

'an enforcement agencies use the Federal income tax return to find out 
vhere the absent parent lives and what he or she makes? 

Yes. Under closely monitored conditions, the IRS, working through the 
State and Federal Child Support Enforcement agencies, can disclose cer- 
tain information from the tax return to the child support office which 
will be helpful in finding an absent parent and determining his or her fi- 
nancial assets. The information can only be used for the purpose of en- 
Forcing child support payments. 

What will happen after I give the caseworker the current address of the 
bsent parent? 

he worker will verify the home and work addresses, then may ask the 
irent to come to the CSE office for an interview, or notify him that 
gal action may be taken. 



LOCATION 



The father of my child is in the military, but I don't know where he is 
stationed. Can the enforcement agency find him? 

Yes. The FPLS can provide the current duty station of a parent who is 
in any of the uniformed services. 



III. ESTABLISHING FATHERHOOD: PATERNITY 

A support order cannot be established for a child until the alleged father 
either admits or is proved to be the father. How the legal relationship of 
paternity is established is a matter of State law. In nearly all States, the 
father can acknowledge his paternity by signing a written admission or 
consent agreement. Most fathers will do this when confronted, so that 
very few cases actually go to court. The agreement, usually signed under 
oath, is filed with the court and becomes a legal document establishing 
paternity. If the man will not admit that he is the father, the case may 
have to go to trial. 

If you want the father to assume legal responsibility for the child, it is 
important to establish paternity as soon as possible. While CSE offices 
must try to establish paternity for any child up to the child's eighteenth 
birthday, it is best to establish paternity soon after the child's birth. It 
will be easier to locate the father and information needed will be more 
accurate and fresh. 

What are the benefits of establishing paternity? 

Once paternity is established legally, your child gains most of the legal 
rights and privileges that a child born within marriage has. Among them 
may be rights to inheritance, rights to the father's medical and life insur- 
ance benefits, and to social security and possibly veterans' benefits. The 
child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father, and to 
develop a sense of identity and connection to the "other half of his or 
her family. 

What will the enforcement caseworker need to know to try to establish pa- 
ternity? 

The caseworker needs as much information as you can give about the 
alleged father and the facts about your relationship with him, your preg- 
nancy, and the birth of your child. Some of these questions may be per- 
sonal. Be assured that States must keep the information that you give 
confidential. The caseworker will also want to know whether he ever 
provided any financial support, or in any other way acknowledged- 
through letters or gifts that the child was his. A picture of the alleged 
father with the child is helpful, as well as any information from others 
who could confirm your relationship with him. 

10 



PATERNITY 



What if he denies he is the father, or says he's not sure? 

Paternity can be determined by the evidence presented to the court, in- 
cluding highly accurate genetic tests, often blood tests, given to the man 
and to the mother and the child. These tests can exclude wrongly ac- 
cused men and can also indicate the likelihood of paternity if he is not 
excluded. After October 1989, all parties in a contested paternity case 
must submit to genetic tests at the request of either party. This is one 
reason why so few paternity cases go to trial. 

If blood tests are necessary, who pays for them? 

This varies. In some States, if the father is identified by the tests, he must 
assume his financial responsibility at once and pay for the tests. In other 
States, if the mother is not an AFDC recipient, she may have to help 
pay for them. 

What happens if I am not sure who the father is? 

When more than one man could be the father of a baby, each will be 
required to take a genetic test. These tests are highly accurate now, and 
it is almost always possible to determine who fathered a baby and to rule 
out any one who did not. 

My boyfriend is on a military base abroad and I am about to have his 
child. How do I go about establishing paternity and obtaining an order for 
support? 

You can apply for child support enforcement services at your local CSE 
office. If he is willing to sign documents to admit paternity and agree to 
support, then enforcement can proceed by a wage withholding order. If 
an absent parent is on a naval ship or lives on a military base abroad and 
will not admit paternity, it may be necessary to wait until he returns to 
the United States for blood work to be done, 

The father of my child said I would never get a paternity judgment on him 
because he'd just leave the State. What happens in this case? 

If the accused father is found and fails to respond to a formal complaint 
served upon him, a default judgment can be entered in court establishing 
paternity. At the same time, a court order for support may be issued. 
This order can be enforced In other States. 

247-717 - 89 - 3 



PATERNITY 



My boyfriend and I arc still in high school, and our baby is 6 months old, 
Why should legal paternity be established if the father has no money to 
support the child? 

Because when the father gets older and starts working, he will be able to 
support the child. Having paternity established legally, even if the order 
for support is delayed, means collecting child support will be easier later 
on. 

What happens after paternity is established? 

The caseworker may discuss the child's needs with the father and what 
he is required to pay according to the State guidelines. Or, the parents 
may work out the terms of support with each other and sign a consent 
agreement, which, in most States, will need to be approved by the court. 
The agreement is made into a legal order spelling out how much is to be 
paid, and when. The court may also include at this time the exact terms 
of custody, visitation, and other parental rights. If you cannot work out 
an acceptable agreement that is in the best interests of the child, you or 
the father can request a formal hearing. 



12 



IV. ESTABLISHING THE SUPPORT ORDER: 
OBLIGATION 

A legal order for child support spelling out the amount of the obligation 
and how it is to be paid is required for enforcement when and if it be- 
comes necessary. Data from the United States Census show that of the 
8 9 million women caring for children with no father present, only 
about half have legally binding support orders. 

Establishing an enforceable support order depends on how much success 
you, your caseworker or lawyer have in several critical areas: locating 
the absent parent, identifying his or her ability to pay (both present and 
potential), and determining the financial needs of the child. 

States are required to have support guidelines available to all people who 
set child support amounts. Most State guidelines consider the needs of 
the child, other dependents, and the ability of the parents to pay. States 
must use the guidelines unless they can be shown to be unfair to the 
child. 

States today have arrangements for establishing the support order by an 
administrative procedure or other expedited legal procedure, in which the 
case does not have to be heard by a judge in court. The hearing may be 
conducted by a master or a referee of the court, or by an administrative 
hearings officer. 

An agreement made between the parents and approved by this kind of 
agency generally has the same effect as one established in court, and is 
legally binding on the parties concerned. The agreement that the parents 
make should contain provisions that enhance the child's present and 
future overall well-being. It may be useful to discuss these issues together 
if you can, or with a mediator or family counselor. You can call your 
CSE office to find out about your State's guidelines. 

How does the caseworker find out about the other parent's income or 
assets? I know very little about what he owns or makes. 

The caseworker will make every possible effort to identify the parent's 
employment, property owned, and any other sources of income or assets. 
This information will usually be verified before the support order is final. 



13 



OBLIGATION 



I'm sure the other parent is willing to pay support. Can we make an agree- 
ment between ourselves and present it to the court? 

If parents can cooperate and agree, all the better. You can get help from 
a lawyer, divorce mediator or family counselor. The court's sole interest 
m your agreement is to see that it is fair to all parties, that the welfare of 
the children is protected, and that the agreement conforms with the 
guidelines. 

Are the earnings of both parents considered in setting the amount of sup- 
port? p 

In some State guidelines, the custodial parent's earnings are considered in 
setting the amount of the support order. Check with your CSE office. 
Laws vary from State to State, but parents who can work out a fair sup- 
port agreement between themselves will have a better chance of having 
their wishes recognized in court. 

My wife and I are working out a joint custody agreement. How would the 
court decide the amount of child support for each of us? 

Naturally, that depends a lot on the terms of your agreement. But the 
same two rules of thumb would apply: each parent's ability to pay and 
the needs of the child, 

My husband's income is enough to support us without a sudden drop in our 
standard of living after the divorce. Do the courts consider this? 

These decisions, again, are based on the State's guidelines. Of course, 
parents can try to have the amount of support changed if their financial 
situations change. 

I just heard that my son's mother has had three promotions in the last four 
years but the child support is still like it was six years ago. Is there some 
way to find out when she has a raise? 

In many Stoles, CSE offices will already accept a request to review and 
modify chid support orders according to child support guidelines. Soon 
all CSE offices will re VI ew and modify (if appropriate) child support 
orders routinely if the family is receiving AFDC assistance or at the re- 
quest ol either parent m non-AFDC families. Ask your caseworker for 
about modifying your court order. 



14 



OBLIGATION 



What can I do to get my support increased if it is too low? 

If you go to your CSE office for a modification of your order, they will 
need to determine the present income and assets of the non-custodial 
parent, together with your financial situation and the needs of the child. 
The agency can then seek a legal modification. 

My ex-husband has remarried and has another family to support. How will 
this affect the support that my children are due? 

The courts generally hold that even though the non-custodial parent ac- 
quires a second family, this does not eliminate his or her responsibility to 
the first family. In some States, the judge may grant the non-custodial 
parent a decrease in the obligation based on guidelines for child support. 
You should be notified beforehand and given an opportunity to contest 
the proposed change. Other factors which could lower the support order 
include steady employment of the child or poor health or decreased 
earning ability of the non-custodial parent. 

I can't get health insurance with my job but my ex-husband gets good ben- 
efits where he works. Can he be required to carry the children on his insur- 
ance? 

Yes. CSE offices are now required to include medical support in any peti- 
tion for child support when health care coverage is available to the non- 
custodial parent at a reasonable cost. Court orders can also be modified 
to include health care coverage if they were written before this law took 
effect, or if health care coverage became available to the non-custodial 
parent after the court order was established. 

The father of my child is in Jail. Can I get support? 

The father continues to be obligated for support, and past-due support 
may accumulate while he is in jail, But unless he has other assets, such as 
property or any income such as wages from a work-release program, it is 
unlikely that support can be collected while he is in jail. However, your 
support order may be modified so that payment is deferred until he is 
released and working. 



15 



OBLIGATION 



SUpport ' l ** " ^vc enough money for decent 



ful to have ^ m y Ur nCOme ' In this case - il 

aoottv Tv K M" a " rney - Y Ur iOCa 

b provide iow - cost 



16 



V. ENFORCING THE SUPPORT ORDER: 

ENFORCEMENT 

A main objective of the Child Support Enforcement program is to make 
sure that child support payments are made regularly and in the correct 
amount. While many non-custodial parents are willing to pay child sup- 
port and continue to be involved in their children's lives, lapses of pay- 
ment do occur. When they do, a family's budget can be quickly and seri- 
ously threatened, and the anxiety the custodial parent feels can easily dis- 
rupt the family's life. 

For this reason, Congress has decided that immediate wage withholding 
should be included in all court orders unless another arrangement is 
shown to be better. The schedule by which States must use immediate 
wage withholding is in the Foreword at the beginning of this booklet, In 
the meantime, all States allow, and some States require, child support 
court orders to provide for wage withholding as soon as the order is 
signed. If the non-custodial parent is regularly employed, wage 
withholding for child support can be treated like other forms of payroll 
deduction income tax, social security, union dues or any payment an 
employee is required to make. 

A non-custodial parent can also ask for wage withholding to fulfill a child 
support obligation. This way there is a complete record of payments and 
there is no need to write a child support check weekly or monthly. 



States must be able to withhold wages when the non-custodial parent 
misses making payments equaling no more than one month's child sup- 
port. Recent court orders will include that provision, or a provision for 
immediate wage withholding. Older child support orders can be revised 
to include a wage withholding order. 

If payments are skipped or stop altogether, especially if the non-custodial 
parent is self-employed, works for cash or commissions, changes employ- 
ment, or moves frequently, the CSE office will try to enforce the sup- 
port order. 

At first, the CSE office will encourage voluntary payment. Sottietimes, 
regular payments are made in response to monthly billings or telephone 
reminders by the CSE office. Some CSE offices send out delinquency 
notices or use mailgrams to elicit regular payments, 

17 



ENFORCEMENT 



sue, as "I' 3 I * 
* 



coum 



" Se ther ^^nt techniques, 
refunds ' * 1 o 

< Withhold a " d deli ^ 
r a seizure and s ^ of property ,vith 



Without di 



ish , 

is established in court? 



to ch " "-t, but owns a good denl of 
at the sarae "* ta r der for 



n 



does not 



rom 

chiW n ""!' r rrOWing against the 
en ourZe 1 " pmd '. However . *e presence of a property lien may 

olr o 8 !*! T"T S M d ' al u Parent ' Pay the past - due child 
oraer to retain clear title to the property. 



L ' he enforc t official can issue an order to 
e rdSr JS SCnt t0 any P erson - CO "U- 



W fan ha 

m y be a b n g '"P^ bdOngin8 to the debtor - The property 

s ved on the hi" f ' vertn *- or **** Property. The order is 

h nforcement a." ' Pr Per ' y ' W " mUSt then deliver " *- 
Some t a r pe 1 f h 7 r t0 the C Urt that issued th PPOrt order. 
the deb Some ^ f ""^ ' be a " a hed or seized and sold 
history oXeplZ 1 " n n - USt0diaI Pare " tS With ' P r 
suits ' y8Uarantee f PaymCnt ^P^^ ' 



raodified since 1985 



ENFORCEMENT 



ing to other kinds of income in addition to wages, such as bonuses, com- 
missions, retirement, rental or interest income, for example. 

Can I have the wage withholding applied to my existing child support 

order? 

Yes, you can apply for the wage withholding through your local CSE 
office or your attorney. Though there are limits on how much of a per- 
son's check can be withheld, wage withholding can be used for both on- 
going support and arrearages. Ask the enforcement agency how this can 
be done. 

Why can't my attorney work on my child support problem while I am re- 
ceiving services from the child support program? 

In many States, your attorney can work with the child support program 
on your behalf. If the attorney and the child support office work togeth- 
er, they must coordinate their efforts or time can be wasted through un- 
necessary duplication of services and conflicting enforcement methods 
and decisions. Check with your CSE office to see whether you can work 
with an attorney while you use their services. 

My child's mother works for a big company and has moved several times in 
her job. Can automatic withholding work in this case? 

Yes. States must recognize the wage withholding orders from other 
States, and continue the wage withholding as ordered, without regard to 
where the absent parent or the custodial parent and children live. 

My ex-husband has a good job and is willing to have the payments deduct- 
ed from his paycheck, but his employer won't do it. What can I do? 

Under Federal law, an employer must withhold the support if ordered 
to, or if the non-custodial parent requests it. If you run into problems 
with a reluctant employer, seek the assistance of your CSE office. 

The children's father works irregularly and is paid in cash. Wage withhold- 
ing won't work for me. What will? 

Automatic billing, telephone reminders, and delinquency notices from 
your CSE office might convince him to make regular payments. Other 
techniques, such as property attachment, credit bureau reporting, tax 

247-717 - 89 - A 



refund offset, garnishment, and liens might work for the arrearages If 
none of these is successful, your enforcement office can take the case to 
court for stronger enforcement methods. 

My children's father owns a cross-country moving van and a nice home. 
Why won t the child support office put a lien on either one? 

Most States will not put a lien on a primary residence or attach property 
which a person needs to make a living. Talk to your caseworker about 
what kinds of property are available for liens and attachment in your 
State. J 

My ex-spouse is in the Army. How do I go about having child support pay- 
ments deducted from a paycheck? 

If a service member is not meeting a support obligation and will not 
agree to have payments allotted from his or her paycheck, a military of- 
ficial (usually the finance officer) can have the payments deducted in ac- 
cordance with the support order. Again, there are limits on the amount 
of the check that can be deducted. Ask your CSE office for information 
on how to start this action. 

My children's father retired from the Navy when he was only 40, just 
before our divorce. Can his military retirement check be garnished for back 
child support? 



h , , the Wases of aotive > reserv e d retired 

members of the mdrtary and Federal government civilian employees. 
W th the assistance of your enforcement caseworker or lawyer, you can 

o v a n f arn em rder fr m the COUrt and send jt with * tifled copy 
t ^ def ' the designated offioial - Your Heal en- 
^ the 6Xa0t procedures and fcHw *rough 



The children's mother works for the U.S. Postal Service. She was recently 

making ~ Wha < do 



duw 
duty 



to search Federal records. When the address of her new 
B verified, the CSE office can pursue wage withholding for 

20 



ENFORCEMENT 



child support. The wage withholding law can be used for all employees 
of the Federal Government. 

Can past-due child support be taken from the State income tax refund? 

Under Federal law, all States with State income tax must offset State 
income tax refunds for past-due support owed to both AFDC recipients 
and non-AFDC recipients. 

How does the non-paying parent find out that his or her State tax refund 
will be taken? 

The State must notify the non-custodial parent in advance of taking the 
action. The notification specifies the amount owed in arrears and the 
amount to be offset. It also tells whom to contact if the person wants to 
contest the offset. 

Can Federal income tax refunds be offset the same way? 

Yes, States can request an offset of Federal income tax refunds for past- 
due support of over $500 owed to persons not receiving AFDC as well 
as over $150 owed to AFDC recipients. 

The children's father lost his job and is collecting unemployment compensa- 
tion. Can child support payments be deducted and sent to me? 

Yes. Unemployment compensation, and other State and Federal benefits 
can be tapped for child support. Ask your caseworker for details about 
the procedures, and make sure you give your caseworker information 
immediately if you learn about changes in the father's employment situa- 
tion. 

Doesn't the Internal Revenue Service also have methods it can use to help 
us get the support owed? 

Yes, there are several, but they are only available through the authority 
of the Federal/State Child Support Enforcement program. Your case- 
worker may be able to make a request for use of the IRS "full collec- 
tion" technique, or for an offset of the absent parent's tax refund for 
past-due amounts. Contact your caseworker for more information, 



21 



ENFORCEMENT 



By my own calculation, my husband owes me $3,475 in past due child sup- 
port. Can the enforcement agency try to collect it for me? 

If this support was owed before the CSE office became involved in your 
case, the CSE office has to verify the amount owed. Then it may have 
to present the documentation to a court before it can start collection pro- 
cedures. While it is doing this, the agency can try to collect support pay- 
ments for current months. 

I heard that my children's father is buying a very expensive car. He owes 
over $5,000 in back support. Can the credit agency be told this? 

Yes. By Federal law, the CSE office must report the amount of child 
support owed if the amount is over $1,000 and the information is request- 
ed by the consumer credit agency, The CSE office can report lesser 
amounts, if it chooses. Some CSE offices now report the amount of child 
support owed automatically without a request from the consumer credit 
agency. Consult your caseworker for more information. 

The other parent does not work regularly and repeatedly falls behind in his 
child support payments. Is there any way the court can establish regular 
payment? 

As mentioned before, property liens and attachments might work. In cer- 
tain cases Federal law also authorizes that the parent be required to post 
security, bond, or other guarantee to cover support obligations. These 
may be in the form of money or property. Ask your enforcement case- 
worker if these might be applied to your case. 

My ex-wife has declared bankruptcy and says she doesn't have to pay child 
support. Is that true? 

Bankruptcy does not necessarily end the child support obligation. Child 
Support arrearages are not discharged by bankruptcy. In fact, a claim for 
child support makes the custodial parent a creditor and child support 
claims may be given priority over other creditors' claims. It is a good 
idea for the child support agreement to state that bankruptcy will not 
end the child support obligation. 



22 



ENFORCEMENT 



My daughter's father says that since he gives her gifts and money he does 
not have to pay child support. 

Courts generally will not allow gifts to a child to take the place of child 
support, and require that child support payments are carried out as or- 
dered by the child support agreement. In some cases, if the voluntary 
payment is larger than a normal gift would be, a court may decide to 
credit the payment as a child support payment. 

Will the Federal Government step in to enforce a difficult child support 
case? 

No. State and local offices are responsible for establishing paternity and 
establishing and enforcing child support orders. The Federal Govern- 
ment tries to make sure that States are using all appropriate enforcement 
techniques. It pays much of the cost of the program, issues policies, 
offers technical assistance, and reviews State programs for compliance 
with Federal requirements. If a State program is not meeting Federal 
standards, the Federal Office will help State personnel to correct the 
shortcoming. If necessary, the Federal Government can financially pe- 
nalize a State for not following Federal regulations. 

The child support office is not enforcing my case. Can I take it to a Feder- 
al Court? 

If your caseworker and State CSE office have had no response to their 
requests for enforcement in another jurisdiction, it is possible for the case 
to be heard by a Federal court. This is not done often and the decision 
to use a Federal court will be made by the Federal Regional Office of 
Child Support Enforcement at the request of your caseworker and the 
State enforcement office. If you are not satisfied with the services you 
are receiving in your local CSE office, you can ask your State CSE 
Agency for help. State Agency addresses are listed at the end of the 
Handbook. 

My children are over eighteen and don't get child support any more, but 
there is still a $10,000 arrearage owed to me for support that was never 
paid. Will the CSE office collect that money for me? 

If State law allows your State to collect support for a child who is no 
longer a minor, the CSE office is required by Federal law to collect the 
back support. Ask your CSE office for more information. 

23 



Can my children be provided for if my ex-husband dies? 

A well written child support order should provide for continued support 
if the non-custodial parent should die. The child support payments 
should be defined as a claim against his estate. The children can also be 
named as beneficiaries in your ex-husband's life insurance policy or will. 

The children's mother lives in another State and we don't know when she is 
buying something. Every time the kids come home from there they talk 
about her new cnr or stove or something, but she still won't pay her child 
support. Why can she get credit if the courts know she owes her kids so 
much? 

CSE offices must make child support debts of over $1000 available to 
credit bureaus when that information is requested. Credit bureaus in 
some States routinely request information about child support debts, The 
State notifies the non-custodial parent if the overdue debt will be report- 
ed to the credit reporting network. That sometimes is enough to encour- 
age the non-custodial parent to pay the overdue support. 



24 



VI. WORKING ACROSS STATE LINES: INTERSTATE 
COOPERATION 

The most difficult child support cases to pursue are those in which the 
parent obligated to pay child support lives in one State and the child and 
custodial parent live in another. However, all States are required to 
pursue child support enforcement, including location, paternity establish- 
ment, establishment of support obligations, as vigorously for children 
who live outside their borders as for those under their own jurisdiction. 
Federal law is requiring States to work through the necessary steps that 
lead to enforcement within specific timeframes after September, 1990. 
These requirements should eliminate much of the time that has been lost 
in moving cases from one State or office to another. 

Although State enforcement agencies must cooperate with each other in 
handling requests for assistance, in practice, it is not a simple matter for 
one State to enforce automatically the court orders of another State. 
Each State is self-governing, which means each has an independent court 
system with varying laws, practices and traditions. Matters of family law 
have traditionally been considered the province of State and local gov- 
ernments, and, in general, citizens fall under the personal jurisdiction of 
courts where they live. 

The primary legal tool for interstate enforcement is the Uniform Recip- 
rocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA). All States have their own 
URESA laws, and rely heavily on them for pursuing enforcement in 
other States. The basic mechanism of URESA is the two-state lawsuit in 
which the enforcement official (or the private lawyer) files a petition 
with the enforcement agency or court in another State, Where the 
URESA provisions between the two States are compatible, the law can 
be used to establish paternity, locate an absent parent, establish, modify, 
or enforce a support order. 

Interstate wage withholding can be used to enforce a support order in an- 
other State if the non-custodial parent's employer is known. When this is 
the case, weeks of waiting for court dates can be saved. With interstate 
wage withholding, the CSE office in the State where the non-custodial 
parent lives will make sure that a wage withholding order from another 
State contains all the information required by their State laws and will 
forward it to the non-custodial parent's employer. The order does not 
have to go through the courts as it would with a URESA or interstate 

25 



INTERSTATE 



child support enforcement petition. State laws vary and you will need to 
ask your caseworker whether this technique will work in your case. 

States all have an office, the Central Registry, to receive incoming 
interstate child support cases, to review them to make sure that the in- 
formation given is complete, to distribute them to the right local office 
and to respond to status inquiries from child support offices in other 
States. Standard forms are available to make it easier for caseworkers to 
find the information they need to enforce a case, and for them to be sure 
they are supplying enough information for another State to enforce their 
case. 

I know the address of my children's father in another State, and my case- 
worker sent a petition to establish my support order there. That was three 
month's ago, and still no support payments. What's wrong? 

It may be any number of things: enforcement officials may not be able to 
serve notice on the non-custodial parent due to inadequate address infor- 
mation; if a hearing is necessary, it may take a while to get a court date. 
The demand for enforcement services is high and interstate pursuit is not 
a simple matter, but your caseworker is required to follow-up on you. 
case if 90 days have passed since the last contact with the CSE office in 
the other State. Continue to keep in touch with your caseworker to re- 
solve any delay or to provide any new information you may have. 

I need to establish paternity for my child, and the father lives in another 
part of the country. How does this work? 

Because State paternity laws vary widely, it can be difficult to establish 
paternity across State lines. Most States have either a long arm statute or 
other laws such as URESA that enable them to establish jurisdiction over 
the alleged father in another State, or refer the case for prosecution in 
the State where the father lives. If an attempt is being made to establish 
paternity according to the laws of the other State, the URESA petition 
sent to the State must include all the information required by the laws of 
that State t -not the home State. Frequently, genetic tests or blood tests 
will be ordered to help the court in the other State determine paternity. 

Vsk your caseworker for specific information about the laws in your 

Itate and the State where the other parent lives. 



26 



INTERSTATE 



My caseworker filed a URESA petition for paternity. The father denied it, 
and the other court just dismissed the case. What went wrong? 

A responding State should not dismiss a case without requesting the ad- 
ditional information needed to proceed, and the initiating State is re- 
quired to provide that information in 30 days. Either party in a contested 
paternity action will be able to request blood or genetic testing after Oc- 
tober of 1989. These are changes in the law. Ask your caseworker to 
reopen the case. Paternity may now be established until your child's 18th 
birthday. 

If paternity is established in another state, will the support order also be 
entered in that State? 

Yes. Ask you caseworker how this is done. 

I have had to wait several months for my enforcement agency to get a 
reply to its request for location assistance in another State. Why does it 
take so long to get an answer? 

Even though they try to be responsive, most enforcement agencies have 
a very high demand for their services and they have to set priorities 
among the cases they receive, A State's ability to act rapidly depends on 
the characteristics of the case, the quality of information received, and 
the amount of staff and other resources they have to devote to it. Be 
sure to follow up regularly with your caseworker to make sure that each 
State is responding within the time limits allowed. 

As soon as the children's father is notified about enforcement, he moves. 
How will I ever be able to collect my support? 

Many custodial parents feel angry when, after the absent parent is finally 
located and served notice of the enforcement action, he or she then 
moves on. Unquestionably, it is difficult to enforce child support pay- 
ments when the non-custodial parent intentionally and continually moves 
to avoid paying. You may want to suggest that papers be served at the 
parent's place of work, then try to keep track of the parent's movements 
afterwards. Try to be an active participant in your own case. Whenever 
you learn that the absent parent has moved or has a new job, you should 
bring this information to the attention of your enforcement caseworker 
as soon as possible. 



27 



INTERSTATE 



My former wife lives in another State. She owns an expensive car, jewelry, 
and several pieces of property. Would a URESA petition let me attach this 
property for child support? 

This may be possible after a judgment is obtained in the State where she 
lives. Before Filing the petition, your enforcement worker or lawyer may 
be able to see if a "withhold and deliver" or "attachment" of the proper- 
ty could be successfully carried out. 

Will location and enforcement services cost more if my agency is dealing 
with another State? I am not receiving AFDC. 

Possibly. It depends on what the CSE office has to do to find the absent 
parent and to establish regular payment. The more solid information and 
leads you provide, the more efficiently your case can be conducted. For 
non-AFDC cases, States vary in what they may charge for application 
and collection fees. Your caseworker should be able to tell you more 
about these costs in your particular case. (See discussion in Introduction.) 

I don't have a support order. Can I have one established by petitioning the 
court where my ex-husband lives? 

Yes, this can also be done by your CSE office in a URESA petition. An 
affidavit of all the pertinent facts, including the name and address of the 
responsible parent, details of your financial circumstances, and the needs 
of the child will be included. The petition will be mailed to the enforce- 
ment agency, the court, or the URESA official where the father lives. 
The court in the responding State will review this information together 
with information regarding the father's ability to pay and set the amount 
to be paid. 

The father of my child has left the United States. How can I get my court 
order for child support enforced? 

Check with your local CSE office and State CSE agency (at the address 

listed in the back of this Handbook}, Many State CSE agencies have 

agreements with foreign countries to recognize child support judgments 

made in either country. You will need the same kind of information as is 

required for enforcement in this country and as much specific address in- 

rmation as you can find. If the non-custodial parent works for an 

merican company, wage withholding might work even if the country 



28 



INTERSTATE 



he lives in does not have any agreement to enforce an American State's 
order. 

I checked with the CSE office, but my daughter's father lives in a country 
that has no agreement with any State to enforce child support obligations. 
Is there anything else to try? 

The Office of Citizens Consular Services may be able to give you infor- 
mation about how to have the support order enforced in that country 
and how to obtain a list of attorneys there. That address is: Department 
of State, Office of Citizens Consular Services, Washington, D.C 20520. 



29 



VII. CONCLUSION 

The success you have in obtaining regular, adequate, and full child sup- 
port payments depends to a great extent on how well you can make the 
child support enforcement system work for you. At the same time it is 
important to remember that not all the solutions to your child support 
problems are within your control. The legal rights and welfare of all par- 
ties must be carefully guarded, and sometimes this means that what is 
considered fair to one party is considered unfair to another. 

Knowledge is power. The more you know about child support enforce- 
ment procedures where you and the non-custodial parent live, the better 
you will be able to exercise your rights and responsibilities under the 
law, and the more successful you will be in obtaining the support that 
rightfully belongs to your children, As you proceed with your enforce- 
ment case, it is a good idea to keep a written account of the actions 
taken and the outcomes of those actions. Do not hesitate to ask questions 
and make suggestions to your enforcement caseworker. If you are not 
satisfied with the actions taken on your behalf, you have recourse to the 
head of the county CSE office as well as to the Director of the State 
Child Support Enforcement agency. Keep in mind that it is always best 
to communicate the problem in writing. 

An informed parent can make the child support enforcement system 
work. This, together with improvements that State enforcement pro- 
grams > legislatures and the courts are making, can benefit millions of par- 
ents and their children. 



30 



APPENDIX 



GLOSSARY OF CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT 

TERMS 



absent parent 



the parent who does not live with or have 
custody of the child but does have responsi- 
bility for financial support. Non-custodial 
parent. 



administrative procedure method by which support orders are made 

and enforced by an executive agency rather 
than by courts and judges 



Aid to Families with 
Dependent Children 
(AFDC) 



arrearages 



assignment of support 
rights 



complaint 



consent agreement 



assistance payments made on behalf of chil- 
dren who are deprived of the financial sup- 
port of one of their parents by reason of 
death, disability, or continued absence (in- 
cluding desertion) from the home; known in 
many States as ADC, Aid to Dependent Chil- 
dren 

unpaid child support payments for past peri- 
ods owed by a parent who is obligated to pay 

a person receiving public assistance agrees to 
turn over to the State any right to child sup- 
port, including arrearages, paid by the obli- 
gated parent in exchange for receipt of an 
AFDC grant and other benefits 

written document filed in court in which the 
person initiating the action names the persons, 
allegations, and relief sought 

voluntary written admission of paternity or 
responsibility for support 



31 



custodial parent 



custody 



default 



default judgment 



defendant 



enforcement 



Federal Parent Locator 
Service (FPLS) 



Federally-assisted Foster 
Care 



garnishment 



person with legal custody and with whom the 
child lives; may be parent, other relative or 
someone else 



legal determination which 
whom a child shall live 



establishes with 



failure of a defendant to file an answer, re- 
sponse, or appeal in a civil case within a cer- 
tain number of days after having been served 
with a summons and complaint 

decision made by the court when the defend- 
ant fails to respond 

person against whom a civil or criminal pro- 
ceeding is begun 

obtaining payment of a child support or medi- 
cal support obligation 

a service operated by the Office of Child 
Support Enforcement in the U.S. Department 
of Health and Human Services to assist the 
States in locating responsible persons for the 
purpose of obtaining child support payments; 
also used in cases of parental kidnapping re- 
lated to custody and visitation determinations; 
FPLS obtains employer and home address in- 
formation from Federal agencies 

A program, funded in part by the Federal 
government, under which a child is raised 
in a household by someone other than his or 
her own parent 

a legal proceeding whereby a portion of a 
person's wages or other assets is withheld and 
applied to payment of a debt 



32 



genetic testing 



guidelines 



immediate wage 
withholding 



jurisdiction 

legal father 

lien 

long arm statute 

medicaid program 
medical support 

non-custodial parent 
obligation 



analysis of inherited factors (usually by blood 
test) of mother, child and alleged father, 
which can help to prove or disprove that a 
particular man fathered a particular child 

a standard method for setting child support 
obligations based on the income of the 
parent(s) and other factors as determined by 
State law 

automatic deductions from income which 
start as soon as the agreement for support is 
established see wage withholding 

legal authority which a court has over par- 
ticular persons, certain types of cases, and in 
a defined geographical area 

a man who is recognized by law as the male 
parent 

a claim upon property to prevent sale or 
transfer until a debt is satisfied 

a law which permits one State to claim per- 
sonal jurisdiction over someone who lives in 
another State 

federally funded medical support for low 
income families 

legal provision for payment of medical and 
dental bills can be linked to a parent's access 
to medical insurance 

parent who does not have primary custody of 
a child but who has a responsibility for finan- 
cial support 

amount of money to be paid as support by the 
responsible parent and the manner by which 
it is to be paid 



33 



offset 

order 

paternity judgement 
plaintiff 

public assistance 



State Parent Locator 
Service (SPLS) 



URESA 



visitation 



wage withholding 



amount of money taken from a parent's State 
or Federal income tax refund to satisfy a 
child support debt 

direction of a magistrate, judge or properly 
empowered administrative officer 

legal determination of fatherhood 

person who brings an action, complains or 
sues in a civil case 

money granted from the State/ Federal Aid 
to Families with Dependent Children pro- 
gram to a person or family for living ex- 
penses; eligibility based on need 

a service operated by the State Child Support 
Enforcement Agencies to locate absent par- 
ents to establish paternity, and establish and 
enforce child support obligations. 

Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support 
Act a law which is enacted at the State 
level and which provides a mechanism for es- 
tablishing and enforcing support obligations 
when the non-custodial parent lives in one 
State and the custodial parent and child(ren) 
live in another 

the right of a non-custodial parent to visit or 
spend time with his or her children following 
separation or divorce 

procedure by which automatic deductions are 
made from wage or income to pay some debt 
such as child support; may be voluntary or in- 
voluntary 



34 



STATE CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT OFFICES 



ALABAMA 

Child Support Enforcemnt Division 
Department of Human Resources 
64 North Union Street 
Montgomery, AL 36130 
(205) 242-2734 

ALASKA 

Child Support Enforcement Division 

Department of Revenue 

550 West 7th Avenue, 4th Ftoor 

Anchorage, AK 99501 

(907)276-3441 

ARIZONA 

Child Support Enforcement Administration 

Department of Economic Security 

2222 West Encanto 

P.O. Box 6123 Site Code 776A 

Phoenix, AZ 85005 

(602) 252-0236 

ARKANSAS 

Division of Child Support Enforcement 

Arkansas Social Services 

P.O. Box 3358 

Little Rock, AR 72203 

(501) 6S2-8398 

CALIFORNIA 

Child Support Program Management Branch 
Department of Social Services 
744 P StreetMail Slop 9-01 1 
Sacramento, CA 93814 
(916) 322-8495 

COLORADO 

Division of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Social Services 
1575 Sherman Street 
Denver, CO 80203-1714 
(303) 866-5994 

CONNECTICUT 

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Human Resources 
1049 Asylum Avenue 
Harlford, CT06105 
(203) 566-3053 



DELAWARE 

Division of Child Support Enforcement 

Department of Health & Social Services 

P.O. Box 904 

New Castle, DE 19720 

(302) 421-8300 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 
Office of Paternity & Child Support 
Department of Human Services 
3rd Floor Suite 3013 
425 I Street, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20001 
(202) 724-5610 

FLORIDA 

Office of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services 
1317 Winewood Blvd, Building 3 
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700 
(904) 488-9900 

GEORGIA 

Office of Child Support Recovery 
State Department of Human Resources 
878 Peachlrec Street NE, Room 529 
Atlanta, GA 30309 
(4O4) 894-4119 

GUAM 

Office of the Attorney General 
Child Support Enforcement Office 
Union Bank Building Suite 309 
194 Hernan Cortei Avenue 
Agana, Guam 96910 
(671)477-2036 

HAWAII 

Child Support Enforcement Agency 
Department of the Attorney General 
P.O. Box I860 
Honolulu, HI 96805-1860 
<80B) 548-5779 

IDAHO 

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Health and Welfare 
450 West Slate Street 
Towers Building 7th Floor 
Boise, 3D 83720 
(20) 334-5710 



35 



ILLINOIS 

Division of Child Support Enforcement 

Department of Public Aid 

Prescott E. Bloom Building 

201 South Grand Avenue East 

P.O. Box 19405 

Springfield, IL 62794-9405 

(217) 782-1366 

INDIANA 

Child Support Enforcement Division 

Department of Public Welfare 4th Floor 

141 South Meridian Street 

Indianapolis, IN 46225 

(317) 232-4885 

IOWA 

Bureau of Collections 

Iowa Department of Human Services 

Hoover Building 5th Floor 

Des Moines, IA 50319 

(515)281-5580 

KANSAS 

Child Support Enforcement Program 

Department of Social & Rehabilitation Services 

Biddle Building 300 South West Oakley Street 

P.O. Box 497 

Topeka, KS 66603 

(913)296-3237 

KENTUCKY 

Division of Child" Support Enforcement 

Department of Social Insurance 

Cabinet for Human Resources 

275 East Main Street, 6th Floor East 

Frankfort, KY 40621 

(502) 564-2285 

LOUISIANA 

Support Enforcement Services 

Department of Social Services 

P.O. Box 94065 

Baton Rouge, LA 70804 

(504) 342-4780 

MAINE 

Support Enforcement and Location Unit 
Bureau of Social Welfare 
"department of Human Services 

tate House, Station 1 1 

.ugusta, ME 04333 
.207) 289-2886 



MARYLAND 

Child Support Enforcement Administration 
Department of Human Resources 
311 West Saratoga Street 
Baltimore, MD 21201 
(301) 333-3979 

MASSACHUSETTS 

Child Support Enforcement Division 

Department of Revenue 

215 First Street 

Cambridge, MA 02124 

(617) 621-4200 

MICHIGAN 

Office of Child Support 

Department of Social Services 

300 South Capitol Avenue, Suite 621 

P.O. Box 30037 

Lansing, MI 48909 

(517) 373-7570 

MINNESOTA 

Office of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Human Services 
444 Lafayette Road 4th Floor 

St. Paul, MN 55155-3846 
(612) 296-2499 

MISSISSIPPI 

Child Support Division 

State Department of Public Welfare 

515 East Amite Street 

P.O. Box 352 

Jackson, MS 39205 

(601) 354-0341 EXT. 503 

MISSOURI 

Division of Child Support Enforcement 

Department of Social Services 

P.O. Box 1527 

Jefferson City, MO 65102-1527 

(314)751-4301 

MONTANA 

Child Support Enforcement Division 
Department of Social and 
Rehabilitation Services 
P.O. Box 5955 
Helena, MT 59604 
(406) 444-4614 



36 



NEBRASKA 

Child Support Enforcement Office 

Department of Social Services 

P.O, Box 95026 

Lincoln, NE 68509 

(402)471-9125 

NEVADA 

Child Support Enforcement Program 
Department of Human Resources 
2527 N. Carson Street Capital Complex 
Carson City, NV 89710 
(702) 885-*744 

NEW HAMPSHIRE 

Office of Child Support Enforcement Services 

Division of Welfare 

Health & Welfare Building 

6 Hazen Drive 

Concord, NH 03301 

(603) 271-4426 

NEW JERSEY 

Division of Economic Assistance 

Department of Human Services 

Bureau of Child Support and Paternity Programs 

CN716 

Trenton, NJ 08625 

(609) 588-2401 

NEW MEXICO 

Child Support Enforcement Division 

Department of Human Services 

P.O. Box 25 109 

Santa Fe, NM 87504 

(505) 827-7200 

NEW YORK 

Office of Child Support Enforcement 

New York State Department of Social Services 

P.O. Box 14 1 Commerce Plaza 

Albany, NY 12260 

(518)474-9081 

NORTH CAROLINA 

Child Support Enforcement Section 
Division of Social Services 
Department of Human Resources 
437 North Harrington Street 
Raleigh, NC 27603-1393 
(919) 733-4120 



NORTH DAKOTA 

Child Support Enforcement Agency 
Department of Human Services 
State Capitol 
Bismarck, ND 58505 
(701) 224-3582 

OHIO 

Bureau of Child Support 
Department of Human Services 
State Office Tower 27th Floor 
30 East Droad Street 
Columbus, OH 43266-0423 
(614) 466-3233 

OKLAHOMA 

Child Support Enforcement Division 
Department of Human Services 
P.O. Box 25352 
Oklahoma City, OK 73125 
(405)424-5871 

OREGON 

Recovery Services Section 

Adult and Family Services Division 

Department of Human Resources 

P.O. Box 14506 

Salem, OR 97309 

(503) 378-5439 

PENNSYLVANIA 

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Public Welfare 
P.O. Box 8018 
Harrisburg, PA17105 
(717) 787-3672 or 783-5184 

PUERTO RICO 

Child Support Enforcement Program 
Department of Social Services 
CALL Box 3349 
San Juan, PR 00904 
(809)722-4731 

RHODE ISLAND 

Bureau of Family Support 
Department of Human Services 
77 Dorrance Street 
Providence, RI 02903 
(401) 277-2409 



37 



SOUTH CAROLINA 

Child Support Enforcement Division 
Department or Social Services 
P.O. Box 1520 
Columbia, SC 29202-9988 
(803) 737-5870 

SOUTH DAKOTA 

Office of Child Support Enforcement 
Department of Social Services 
700 Governors Drive 
Pierre, SD 57501-2291 
(605) 773-3641 

TENNESSEE 

Child Support Services 

Department of Human Services 

Citizens Plaza Building 12th Floor 

400 Deadrick Street 

Nashville, TN 37219 

(615) 741-1820 

TEXAS 

Child Support Enforcement Division 

Office of the Attorney General 

P.O. Box 12548 

Austin, TX 78711-2548 

(512) 463-2181 

UTAH 

Office of Recovery Services 

Department of Social Services 

120 North 200 West 

P.O. Box 4501 1 

Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0011 

(801) 538-4400 

VERMONT 

Child Support Division 
Department of Social Welfare 
103 South Main Street 
Waterbury, VT 05676 
(802)241-2910 



VIRGIN ISLANDS 

Support and Paternity Division 

Department of Law 

46 Norre Oade 

St. Thomas, VI 00801 

(809) 776-0372 

VIRGINIA 

Division of Support Enforcement Program 
Department of Social Services 
8007 Discovery Drive 
Richmond, VA 23288 
(804) 662-9297 

WASHINGTON ' 

Revenue Division 

Department of Social & Health Services 

Mail Stop HJ-31 

Olyrapia, WA 98504 

(206)586-6111 

WEST VIRGINIA 
Child Advocate Office 
Department of Human Services 
1900 Washington Street, East 
Charleston, WV 25305 
(304) 348-3780 

WISCONSIN 

Division of Economic Support 

Bureau of Child Support 

I West Wilson StreetRoom 382 

P.O. Box 7935 

Madison, WI 53707 T 7935 

(608)266-1175 

WYOMING 

Child Support Enforcement Section 

Division of Public Assistance and Social Services 

State Department of Health & Social Services 

Hathaway Bldg. 

Cheyenne, WY 82002 

(307) 777-7892 



38 



REGIONAL OFFICES OF THE 
OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT 

REGION I CONNECTICUT, MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW 
HAMPSHIRE, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT 

OCSE Regional Representative 
John F, Kennedy Federal Building 
23rd Floor, Room 2303 
Boston, MA 02203 
(617) 565-2463 

REGION II NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PUERTO RICO, VIRGIN 
ISLANDS 

OCSE Regional Representative 
Federal Building, Room 4048 
26 Federal Plaza 
New York, NY 10278 
(212) 264-2890 

REGION III DELAWARE, MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, 
VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, DISTRICT OF 
COLUMBIA 

OCSE Regional Representative 

P.O. Box 8436 

3535 Market Street, Rm. 4119 MS/15 

Philadelphia, PA 19101 

(215)596-1396 

REGION IV ALABAMA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, 
MISSISSIPPI, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH 
CAROLINA, TENNESSEEE 

OCSE Regional Representative 
101 Marietta Tower, Suite 821 
Atlanta, GA 30323 
(404) 331-5733 



39 



REGION V-ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA 
OHIO, WISCONSIN 

OCSE Regional Representative 
105 W. Adams Street 
20th Floor 
Chicago, IL 60603 
(312)353-4237 

REGION VI-ARKANSAS, LOUISIANA, NEW MEXICO, 
OKLAHOMA, TEXAS 

OCSE Regional Representative 
1200 Main Tower Building 
Suite 1700 
Dallas, TX 75202 
(214)767-9648 

REGION VIMOWA, KANSAS, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA 

OCSE Regional Representative 
601 East 12th Street 
Federal Building, Room 515 
Kansas City, MO 64106 
(816)426-5159 

REGION VIII-COLORADO, MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA, 
SOUTH DAKOTA, UTAH, WYOMING 

OCSE Regional Representative 
Federal Office Building, Rm. 1185 
1961 Stout Street 
Denver, CO 80294 
(303) 844-5646 

REGION IX-ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, HAWAII, NEVADA, GUAM 

OCSE Regional Representative 
50 United Nations Plaza 
Mai! Stop 351 
San Francisco, CA 94102 
(415) 556-4415 



40 



REGION X ALASKA, IDAHO, OREGON, WASHINGTON 

OCSE Regional Representative 
2201 Sixth Avenue 
Mail Stop RX-70 
Seattle, WA 98121 
(206) 442-2775 



41 



CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT RECORDS 



Custodial Parent- 
Address 



Names of Dependent Children Dates of Birth 



Noncustodial Parent 
Address(es) 



Social Security Number Date and Place of Birth 



Dates 
Employees) _. 



42 



Child Support Enforcement Office. 



Enforcement caseworker 
Case Number 



State Enforcement Agency 



Lawyer 



Courts: 



Custodial Parent 



Noncustodial Parent 



Present Support Obligation: $ To be paid; 



43 



CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT CASE LOG 
Action Taken Date Outcome 



44 



NOTES 



45 



NOTES 



46 



NOTES 



47 

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1989 0' - 247-717 QL 3 



For more information on how the child support system works in your 
State, contact your State Child Support Enforcement agency. For tech- 
nical information on program management topics, write the National 
Child Support Enforcement Reference Center, Office of Child Support 
Enforcement, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C. 20447.